Most of the libertarian information, literature and internet memes that we european libertarians (or should I say non-american libertarians?) share come from the libertarian community in the United States. Websites, commentaries, videos, twitter feed that talk about libertarianism in all its forms originate from the US, there is no doubt about it. We non-american libertarians produce close to nothing, simply copying and pasting, likeing, retweeting content from our american friends. And this is a problem on its own that would need to be analysed and perhaps corrected because I think we have a lot to say about libertarianism and that’s not always within the same wavelength as the american libertaranism. We “invented” the austrian school of economics after all!
In my experience the two sides of the ocean agree with almost everything apart from few topics, one of which is the gun right debate. Yes, all libertarians in the world think of gun rights as an important right. Yes, we all know that the most brutal dictators confiscated weapons from civilian populations and we know how it went. But that’s where all our shared arguments and passion end. Truth is if there ever was a priority scale for all the rights that the State took from us we wouldn’t put gun ownership on our top 10. It would be quite down the scale actually. But if you ask an american libertarian s/he would put gun ownership on top and everything else would be of secondary importance. I think this huge difference stems from the incredibly vast gap between american culture and the rest of the world. Gun culture in countries other than US is almost non-existent. Yes, in Switzerland and Israel people can own a rifle (Switzerland) and go around with rifles hanging from their shoulders (like israeli’s military levy members) but it’s a different story compared to the US culture: these are guns that the State gives to civilians for training while they are forced to go through their military draft. It’s the State imposing civilians to use weapons to defend the State itself. Once the draft is over guns are returned or in the case of Switzerland civilians can keep their weapons but not the ammo cases. USA is unique as it allows military-grade guns to be bought and in some states carried by civilians with little regulamentation.
So why are the european libertarians not so attracted by the gun-debate that storms the US libertarian community every single time there is a massacre and widespread talk about gun bans? Cultural difference is probably important but also quite frankly we european libertarians are somewhat puzzled by the importance american libertarians give to gun rights when they are completely useless for a libertarian cause. Are american libertarians using their weapons that the second amendment grants them to wage a defensive war against the State at this very moment? No. Are they going to use these weapons against US army or cops? No. So what are these weapons good for if they are not used or going to be used against the State?
I would sympathise with our american friends if they were part of a militia waging war against the oppression of their government but until they are used simply for taking selfie and for calling out the second amendment every time someone talk about banning guns, well for me that is just some sort of non-sense obsession with guns (deeply embedded within american culture). Our point of view might seem naive for an american libertarian but we think there are higher priorities a libertarian should put on top like protesting against the state military complex, waging war against other countries, CIA-funded coups in other countries, taxation (in some european countries the State can take as much as 50% of your salary), violence against minorities, prohibitionism, war on drugs, school indoctrination, censorship, nationalism, protectionism and crony capitalism and so on. These are REAL issues that have deadly consequences on our every-day lives. Gun bans have little to no consequence to our lives. They are just symbolic battles but they take the majority of american libertarians’ time during debates. And quite frankly it makes the libertarian philosophy look like a violent and gun-obsessed ideology. And if the only counter argument for all of this is “But we need to defend ourselves in case an oppressive government goes to power” let me tell you something: that evil government you are so scared of is already in power and it has been there for centuries. And all your guns and your sacred second amendment have done absolutely nothing to stop it. And won’t be of any use in any near future.